Action movies have undergone many changes since the genre debuted...
When I was a kid, I would load up on VHS tapes when we hit Blockbuster. I was obsessed with Jackie Chan and had to see all of his high octane adventures. Eventually, I moved on to Van Damme, Stallone, Schwarzenegger, and Jet Li. Never was a Seagal guy.
As I got older, action movies changed. I think part of that was due to the Tom Clancy-esque military realism popularity. There also was a shift in Hollywood toward intellectual property, and while there were books that had more action, I think there were more elegant, grounded takes on what was out there.
But you don't want to hear me wax poetic about the action genre. Instead, listen to comedian Bill Burr recap it and let's talk more after the jump.
Legendary Comedian Bill Burr Breaks Down the Evolution of Action Movies
Tropes come and go in Hollywood but the genre stays more or less the same. The way it changes is through audience taste and what populates popular culture. Action movies got their start with pirate adventures, war epics, gangster flicks, and, of course, westerns, but it also evolved after heavy Japanese influence from filmmakers like Akira Kurosawa.
But the 80s felt like the real emergence of the modern action movie. You saw the biggest names wading into the mix, the guys I mentioned before plus crossover people like Hulk Hogan and even Dennis Rodman taking their places as action stars in the 90s.
And don't forget, Bruce Willis was on a sitcom before he became John McClane.
One thing I loved about the video was when Burr talked about the jokes and zingers that died when the 80s action movies came around. Those jokes were definitely of that era, and I wonder if they are actually primed for a comeback now?
Is there a writer that can take the realism we are used to seeing today and add back in the jokes?
That might be a good forecast for where the genre is going.
Expanding on that, I have to disagree with him when it comes to women kicking ass. If you've bought into the lunacy and tone of an action movie, I'm not sure the size of people kicking ass or their gender actually changes my belief in what's happening on screen.
When you watch an action movie, you're signing up for a certain level of "No way."
Still, if you want to keep the Burrs at bay, you should write or direct your scenes with plausibility in mind. Should your hero hit them with a tire iron or use a karate move that uses their size and weight against them. Or maybe you make it into a joke where they have to outsmart them?
Keep that in mind when you're writing a fight scene.
And maybe there's a "the bigger they are, the harder they fall" joke in there as well.
Did you enjoy the video? Have disagreements with Burr? Let us know in the comments.